Civic Engagement

With a pop­u­la­tion of over 4.3 mil­lion, South Asians are one of the most rapid­ly increas­ing pop­u­la­tions in the Unit­ed States. Of this pop­u­la­tion, approx­i­mate­ly 1.3 mil­lion are cit­i­zens and eli­gi­ble to vote. Under­stand­ably, as our com­mu­ni­ty grows in size, com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers are engag­ing more active­ly in the civic and polit­i­cal process by vot­ing; express­ing views on impor­tant issues; sup­port­ing polit­i­cal cam­paigns; and run­ning for office at local, state, and nation­al lev­els. In fact, the community’s pat­terns of migra­tion and nat­u­ral­iza­tion indi­cate that South Asians are part of the increas­ing pool of new vot­ers in the Unit­ed States. How­ev­er, many South Asian vot­ers encounter road­blocks on the path to the elec­tion booth, includ­ing vot­er intim­i­da­tion and harass­ment; insuf­fi­cient bilin­gual mate­ri­als and inter­preters at the polls, even where man­dat­ed by law; and ille­gal vot­er iden­ti­fi­ca­tion require­ments. Non-cit­i­zens also face unique bar­ri­ers in terms of their abil­i­ty to engage in activ­i­ties oth­er than vot­ing.

In an effort to ensure that vot­ers of South Asian descent have full and equal access in the elec­toral process, SAALT coor­di­nates and par­tic­i­pates in var­i­ous activ­i­ties across the coun­try. These include elec­tion mon­i­tor­ing efforts, exit polling of South Asian vot­ers, and vot­er reg­is­tra­tion. In addi­tion, SAALT advo­cates with fed­er­al and state gov­ern­ments regard­ing the pro­vi­sion of lan­guage access for South Asian vot­ers and ade­quate vot­er pro­tec­tion mea­sures.

SAALT Resources on Voting Rights

Ally Organizations